Thunder coach Scott Brooks said there's nothing complex in his team correcting its defensive problems.
"It's about as simple as it gets. You have to stop the ball," Brooks said Tuesday before the team left for Los Angeles for tonight's 9:30 game against the Clippers.
All-Star small forward Kevin Durant agreed. "Just help," Durant said. "It's all about helping each other out, man, and giving a second effort."
The Thunder is without defensive standout Nick Collison, a power forward who is still on the mend from a lower left leg stress reaction, but Brooks didn't use that as an excuse.
"Nick is one of our better defensive players but, nah, that's not the reason," Brooks said. "We've just got to do a better job of manning up. You've got to guard your man. We've had too many breakdowns where we're not real focused stopping our man. That's unacceptable. The good thing about it is we're getting some steals out of it (second in the league at 11.3 per game), but we might be getting too courageous on our steal attempts."
Collison, second in the league last year in charges taken, remains out indefinitely.
ALL ABOUT US
The Thunder has played nothing but winless teams so far this season in Chicago (0-0), Detroit (0-1), Utah (0-2) and tonight in the Clippers (0-4).
Durant said he is more concerned about what the Thunder is doing rather than the opponent.
"We've got to worry about ourselves," Durant said. "That Utah game, our energy wasn't there at all. I know if we bring our energy, we can play with a lot of teams in this league. If we're not making shots, our energy is going to pick us up and give us that defensive push. So it's all about us. We can't worry about the other team and how many games they've won or lost. We've got to worry about how we want to approach them."
OFF THE MARK
The Thunder and Clippers are tied for last in the NBA in field-goal percentage at .399, while the Thunder ranks last in 3-point percentage at .208.
"As you're coaching throughout the game, you feel either good or bad with the offense. I felt good, but I wasn't sure until I watched the film (against Utah)," Brooks said. "We had a lot of open looks where we just missed shots. Guys were making the right plays, we were just missing shots.
"Every player, every team will go through sections of the season where you're not playing well or not shooting the ball well. We are like that right now. Only thing you can do is work your way through it. I tell our guys to keep looking for each other. We're not turning the ball over (first in the league at 12.7 turnovers), which is good. We just have to step up and shoot it with confidence. I believe in them and they believe in themselves. Now the ball just has to go in for us."
Durant said it's important to not allow poor shooting to have a negative effect elsewhere.
"One thing we can't do is let it affect our defense, and it's done that a little bit," Durant said. "We've got to go back to helping each other out a little bit more and playing harder. I'm the captain of the team, so it starts with me. I just have to make a more conscious effort."
Guard Russell Westbrook is shooting 46.3 percent from the field and is the only starter shooting better than 38.8 percent from the floor.
Durant agreed Westbrook has to get more involved on the offensive end.
"It's tough to know as a point guard when to go score and when to pass. He's figuring that out," Durant said. "With me, I've got to pull him to the side and say, 'Russ, you've got to be aggressive. You've got to go score.' It's just a matter of him knowing, but also us telling him."
ALL RIGHT, ALDRICH
Cole Aldrich's first NBA basket came on a one-handed, follow-up dunk off a missed James Harden jumper.
Asked if he knew Aldrich could get up that high, Durant smiled and said, "No, I didn't. He's got skinny legs. He jumped pretty high for that one. I was very excited for him. Hopefully he gets more time on the floor with us.
"I'm happy for him. For him to get back out on the floor, it was good to see him play so well for us. I think his defense is great and crashing the boards, he's unbelievable. Cole is going to be good for us."
BLAKE GRIFFIN FAN
Durant said he had a chance to sneak a peek this season at Clippers rookie and former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin, who missed last season with a fractured kneecap.
"I'm a big Blake Griffin fan," Durant said. "He's doing an unbelievable job in the league so far. As a fan of the game, it's good to see him out there on the floor. Any player sitting out of any game is tough. I can't imagine sitting out a whole year for a guy who loves the game of basketball. I'm happy to see him back on the floor. He just gives that team a whole new look, a spark. He brings a lot of energy once he's on the floor."